Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mistaken Author … once again


I wrote some time ago about the case of the Mistaken Author. I had misunderstood Alfred Hitchcock as the author of the Three Investigators Series during my school days since I would see the introduction by him at the beginning of each story. Only last year, while I came across a 3I book did I realize that the characters were created by Robert Arthur. He wrote the stories and only the introduction/foreword came from Alfred Hitchcock.

I started reading the entire series and when I came to the 12th book/story in the series; I was surprised to see the author name change. I again began looking for info about this changed authorship. A little googling gave me some insight into what happened. Here is bits and pieces of what I found.

The Three Investigators Mystery Series is a juvenile book series that was created by Robert Arthur, Jr. in the early 1960's. 

Robert Arthur's idea was to write a series that was similar in some ways to the Hardy Boys and other popular juvenile fiction of the day but which exhibited a higher quality of writing along with some extremely unusual and perplexing mysteries.  The cover art and detailed internal illustrations initially provided by talented artists Harry Kane and Ed Vebell were also strong factors which helped with the success of this series.  While the mysteries are often incredible, The Three Investigators themselves are, for the most part, simply your everyday, average, resourceful, American boys which makes this series more realistic and appealing than most.

In 1967/1968 with his health in decline, Robert Arthur sought out Dennis Lynds to help continue writing Three Investigators books.  Working first on #10 Mystery of the Moaning Cave, Dennis Lynds wrote under the pseudonym of William Arden.  Robert Arthur died on May 2, 1969 and his final Three Investigators book, #11 The Mystery of the Talking Skull, was published later that year.

In addition to Dennis Lynds, Kin Platt writing as Nick West and Mary Carey writing as M.V. Carey were hired in the early 1970's to keep up with the two book per year pace set by Arthur.

Not just authors, but even the Man who would introduce the 3I was to change. When Alfred Hitchcock died in 1980, Random House chose to replace him (Alfred Hitchcock) with the fictitious mystery writer Hector Sebastian and in 1981 the series became known as "The Three Investigators Mystery Series". 

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